Career break should not be seen as a stigma but a welcome change in a woman’s life. Most of us know that a career break is inevitable, be it a birth of your child, taking care of ailing parents or simply considering a sabbatical to figure your next move. A career break could be a long one that lasts a couple of years or a short one for only a few months. Either way, we want to get back into the workforce and we should not be oblivious to the fact that it may be hard. I highly recommend you these five things to consider before a career break, to ensure you have an easy entry back in.

Five things to do before taking a career break:

1. Don’t leave before you are actually ready:

Sheryl Sandberg in her TED Talk mentioned: “Don’t leave before you leave”. This means that you must take into consideration all the factors before going on a sabbatical. The one thing you owe to your professional life before a break, is to advance as much as possible to the top of your career graph. When you leave at a higher position, it is that much easier to get back into the workforce. Your last experience, position, and salary will be your weapon of negotiation when you’re looking for a new job after your break.

2. Have a strong professional network:

Today the professional networking platform like LinkedIn, conferences, seminars, meet-ups, have brought the world closer than ever before. Know your interest, join similar community groups, connect with like-minded people and build a network of passionate professionals like you while you are at work. Continue to nurture these relationships when you are on a sabbatical too. These are your pillars and support when you are looking for a job once you get back from your career break. We are well aware that references always work better than job boards, where are resumes disappear in a chasm.

3. Let your plans be evolving:

Most of us who have worked all their adult life, find it very daunting when we are at home by ourselves. We associate our worth with our positions and jobs we do. Our success at work shapes our confidence and we slowly build our routines, plans, and life around our jobs. We all work well with plans like, when should we leave our jobs, how long should the break be and when we should get back into the workforce. But let’s not forget to keep our plans flexible. It will be disastrous to get back to work when you’re not ready or leave a job where you have just got an opportunity to grow if you are rigid with your plans.

4. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish:

This quote by Steve Jobs has altered lives. ‘Pushing yourself and always learning and exploring new things is what will separate you from the crowd’. In a corporate world, no one is indispensable. Everyone comes with a shelf-life of their own. The only way to not get redundant at your workplace or while on a career break is to invest in learning and your professional development. Read good books, take online courses, attend meetups and seminars that will keep you up-to-date with information in your desired role.

5. Find a project outside your job:

I know it will be hard to juggle so many roles and expectations, but try to push yourself harder before you start your sabbatical. You can make up for all those days when you are on a break. Having a project like a website, app development, freelance projects, will give you a platform to continue to earn and remain engaged during your career break too. The project does not require to be a time-consuming one. Even a short-term project that will add value to your resume is sufficient. Employers who see that you have the zeal to pursue your passion, even with a full-time job, shows your commitment, accountability and sense of independence.

In a world where it comes down to the survival of the fittest, one must at least give a good fight to all the skeptics out there. Our career break should not break our careers. Just by being proactive and following these simple rules, you get back on your career track faster and more successfully.

You may also want to read other article written by the same author ‘Career tracking while on a career break‘, ‘Career restarting for a woman on a career break‘, ‘Is returnship right for you?

About the author:

The first time Susan Kutar (Tamang) realized that words could touch lives, she wanted to be a writer and blogger. She has 7 years of experience in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. She likes to write about topics that impact people, which is educational and leaves the reader with something to mull over.

(The author is a guest blogger at Her Second Innings. The opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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